Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, a church that seeks to reflect the grace and truth of Christ's message, gave free weddings last weekend to seven unmarried couples who were living together as a way to celebrate the benefits of marriage.
"Wedding Day" began at 10 a.m. Sept. 29, with a ceremony every hour except for a break at noon for lunch. The free weddings at Bent Tree's Carrollton, Texas, campus included the use of the church's new chapel, music, photographs and flowers.
Senior pastor Pete Briscoe officiated the weddings after delivering a sermon Aug. 5 where he discussed some common arguments for couples to live together without getting married, and why this practice ends up losing the benefits found in either married life or single life.
"I encouraged couples in our church who were living together to really think through whether that was God's best for them," he said. "At the end of the sermon, we gave them the option that if they felt God was leading them to get married, we would hold a free wedding for them on this one specific day."
He made it clear that Bent Tree loves people—married, single or cohabiting—and all are welcome at the church.
He suggested three alternatives to cohabiting couples: Break up, if they decided marriage wasn't in their future; move out and continue seeing each other if they weren't sure; or get married. Bent Tree wanted to support the couples who decided to get married.
"We had seven couples sign up, and we sat down with them and did some premarital counseling and we married them all off," Briscoe said. "It was an incredibly fun day."
About 30 members of the Bent Tree family volunteered to help. One woman made the cakes for all the weddings. Others loaned wedding dresses for the brides to use.
The free weddings saved each couple thousands of dollars, which is often a major hurdle for couples who want to get married.
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